Blog

Sealing records when private custody cases reference past child protective services involvement

While the general principal is that court records are open to the public, information from child protective services cases are not. Thus conflicts develop between the general rule of open records and the prohibition against revealing child protective services information. Twice in the past month I have been involved in a private custody case that […]

Court of Appeals applies Moore factors and returns child to mother

The May 23, 2018 Court of Appeals opinion in Urban v. Kerscher reverses a Family Court’s continuation of custody to third parties and returns the child to Mother. In 2014 Mother placed her daughter with Leo Kerscher and Mary Crew to pursue and secure a permanent home and employment in Pennsylvania. She originally intended this […]

Vacating court approved agreements

Most family law attorneys will occasionally get contacted by an unhappy litigant who wishes to “appeal” his or her court approved agreement. The simple answer to that request is that “you can’t.” The “court will not entertain appeal from an order issued with parties’ consent.” Hooper v. Rockwell, 334 S.C. 281, 513 S.E.2d 358, 363 […]

Smith case reveals judges do more than simply call balls and strikes

  After I posted my blog on the May 9, 2018 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in SCDSS v. Smith to Facebook, a number of my attorney friends commented with dismay about the court’s consideration of the Grandmother’s limited income as a factor in allowing Foster Parents (and not Grandmother) to adopt the minor child […]

Supreme Court reinstates termination of father’s parental rights and authorizes foster parent adoption

The May 9, 2018 Supreme Court opinion in SCDSS v. Smith reverses a 2017 Court of Appeals opinion, terminates father’s parental rights, and authorizes the foster parents to adopt the minor child at issue. This case is extremely fact intensive but to summarize: at the time this child was conceived both Mother and Father were […]

Unpublished Conits opinion reveals the dangers of lackadaisical litigating

After three published opinions in Conits v. Conits, one a refiled Supreme Court opinion, on May 2, 2018 the Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion on the remanded issue of the value of Husband’s Greek farm. Either Spiro Conits is a pants-on-fire liar who is finally getting his just desserts or a foolish litigant […]

Court of Appeals approves joint custody order (and the post-trial reformation of an equitable distribution agreement)

The May 2, 2018 Court of Appeals opinion of Clark v. Clark is one of the rare published opinions approving true joint physical custody. Further the opinion approves a post-trial reformation of an equitable distribution agreement based upon what the court described as a “clerical error.” The Clark divorce litigation essentially commenced when the parties […]

Three methods of reducing the impact of an unfavorable guardian ad litem report

The typical response of an unhappy litigant to an unfavorable guardian ad litem report is to accuse the guardian of bias. While in rare instances the guardian is actually biased, more often the report is fairly accurate (reports, being the product of human beings, are rarely perfectly accurate) and the litigant is simply unhappy with […]

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